10/7/14 Takeaways

10/7/14 Takeaways

  • Web Servers
    • http://computer.howstuffworks.com/web-server.htm
      • This is a really long article, but it’s broken down into names pages so it was easy to read through. The article goes into more detail about how web servers, client or user machines and the internet work. A user computer’s browser translates the server name into an IP address and uses it to connect to the server machine. After the browser requests the file from the server, the server sends the HTML text to the browser and the browser reads the file so that the page can be formatted to the user computer’s screen.
  • Backend Coding
    • http://manningdigital.com/blog/2014/01/23/difference-between-front-end-and-back-end-development
      • Backend development is created using server side language and database. The backend developer takes front end code and puts it into an application where everything is displayed using data stored on a database. There are also frameworks that the backend coders use to make the code faster and simpler. Backend code is responsible for making a page interactive, like signing up for a newsletter or shopping.
  • Content Management Systems
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_management_system
      • A content management system allows the user, owner or administrator of a site, to make changes and have more control over their website without having to know code. This makes it easy for users to keep their sites updated without having a developer make the changes to the code. Some content management systems include WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Each one has their own advantages and disadvantages.
  • Mobile Websites, .Mobi sites and Responsive Web design
    • http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2013/08/28/mobile-websites#.
      • There are two ways to make a mobile website. One way is to make a .Mobi site. .Mobi sites are optimized to be viewed on a mobile device. Sites can load faster because there is less bandwidth being used. They are also more likely to be found than .com sites on mobile searches. The other way is to use responsive web design so that existing websites will readjust for the size screen they are being viewed on. Sites that use code to convert to mobile layout can be slower to load than .mobi sites.
  • Social Media Marketing
    • Social media marketing can increase sales while decreasing marketing costs. According to this article, 80% of marketers indicated that their social media efforts increased traffic to their websites. Social media marketing can increase brand recognition and brand loyalty. It can also give a company a better understanding of their customer and also relate to their customers better.
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10/3/14 Takeaways

10/3/14 Takeaways

  • Website Design – Alignment
  • Multi-Media
    • http://designmodo.com/more-videos-web-design/
      • This article is from February 2014 and I thought it was interesting because it’s about how the new trend in web design is to use more videos instead of text. I find this interesting because I prefer to scan for information I want and if there is only a video, I personally tend to leave the site. The article says that this new trend is relying on the power of human curiosity and a more fascinating way of getting information. It also said that time will tell if there are pitfalls to this modern trend. The article had a lot of examples of video sites. I didn’t watch them but I did scroll through them.
  • User Interface Design
    • http://www.usability.gov/what-and-why/user-interface-design.html
      • This is a short article about user interface design. User Interface Design focuses on what users might need to do and to make sure that getting what they need to get done is easy to do and understand. When choosing interface elements be consistent and predictable. This means that buttons are recognizable or navigation is obvious among other things. Know the user when designing the interface. Make the layout clear and use colors and typography correctly.
  • Color Theory
    • http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/an-introduction-to-color-theory-for-web-designers–webdesign-1437
      • They used the CNN website as an example in this article. This article is an overview of color theory and how to apply it in web design. It said that by choosing colors on the opposite end of the spectrum a desing will be less streeful on the eyes and using contrast make text more readable and guides the reader. It mentioned an Adobe tool called Kuler that helps create a color palette. The author said that when using a tool like Kuler it’s a good idea to create the palette and apply it before making adjustments to the colors. Colors can look great together in a design, but it might be hard to see that when you are just looking at them as color blocks.
  • Typography (In Web Design)
    • http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/09/29/balancing-line-length-font-size-responsive-web-design/
      • I thought this article was interesting because it discussed how people read or not read web content and how to consider typography when designing for a responsive web site. It discusses proper use of line height and font size and how it has an effect on the reader. It also discussed line length, or measure. Most readers don’t consider typography at all unless it is not used properly. If someone is on a small device a small font size is ok because they are holding the device. But you wouldn’t wasn’t to design only for a large monitor because then someone will have to pinch the screen or move the content around with their finger if they are looking at the site with their phone.
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9/26/14 Takeaways

9/26/14 Takeaways

  • Communicating with a Client
    • http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2013/09/17/three-ways-to-improve-your-communication-with-clients/
      • I thought this article was interesting because the communication tips it gave were different than just asking the client for what they think they need or want from your service or product. It said to share valuable information with your client first. This means staying on top of your clients industry and informing them of new things or ideas and asking them what they think of it. It makes you look well informed and reliable. If your client thinks they know something and you’re certain that they don’t, gather evidence or articles or other research to help them be more informed. Networking is also important. Connecting clients with other people is also beneficial.
  • Marketing Plan
    • http://www.sba.gov/content/developing-marketing-plan
      • A marketing plan will help you understand what your target market is and how you are going to reach it. It will also help you differentiate yourself from your competition. A marketing plan is a set of guidelines intended to show you how your marketing strategies are helping your ROI. It can be changed if you see that a certain tactic isn’t working or if you think more resources should be used on tactics that are. The marketing plan can help you see how you are connecting with your target market and whether or not your marketing techniques are working.
  • Mission Statement
    • http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/65230
      • A mission statement clearly defines what is a business is about, its goals and why it exists for the customer, employees, suppliers, community, etc. Asking why you are in business and who your customers are and knowing what image you want to convey can help with writing a mission statement. Since a mission statement is only a few sentences or a short paragraph, every word in the statement counts so it helps to be creative in conveying your message.
  • What to Wear
    • http://www.paulfredrick.com/Fashion/pfbuisdress015.aspx?sc=EHF1PB&redirect=true
      • This article was geared more towards men, but the idea of appropriate dress is still the same for women. Clothing will send a message about you to your clients. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed and it is also important to be dressed for the occasion. A suit would look strange or out of place in some situations. People will make assumptions about you immediately based on what you are wearing.
  • Site Specifications
    • http://www.bluefountainmedia.com/blog/how-to-write-a-specifications-document/
      • A site specification document will help developers and designers with a project and avoid any surprises. It will give an estimate of the time it will take and outlines the cost of development based on what is in the specifications. I think that this is a very important thing to have before any work on a site is started. In the print, an estimate and an agreement of exactly what is in that estimate are essential. I think a specification document would help with communication between the customer, designer and programmer.
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9/23/14 Takeaways

9/23/14 Takeaways

  • Branding
    • http://marketing.about.com/cs/brandmktg/a/whatisbranding.htm
      • Branding is the identity of goods or services of a seller. It delivers the message and confirms credibility and connects emotionally while motivating the buyer. It is a promise to the consumer and it’s their perception of what you are. Branding should be done through every point of public contact. It is important to be successful in branding strategies because it makes a consumer feel a certain way about your company whether good or bad and they can always go to someone else that they feel more comfortable with.
  • Logo Design
    • http://mashable.com/2014/04/30/logo-design-tips/
      • This is a really great article that has some tips for designing logos. It also includes useful links for inspiration, plagiarism, color schemes and one for a brand personality evaluation. It says to be unique and clever, but you must also understand the brand. You wouldn’t use flashy colors or fonts for a serious impression. The logo is often the first impression of a business. Keep the logo easy and simple so that people don’t have to stare and try to figure out what the logo is. It is also a good idea to use white space in a design and remember to design for the logo to be used in all mediums. I liked how it mentioned to not expect instant success, of the company you are designing for doesn’t get themselves out to the consumer properly; the best design might never be seen.
  • CRM, Customer Relationship Management
    • http://sales.about.com/od/glossaryofsalesterms/g/What-Is-Crm.htm
      • Since I have been in customer service for a number of years, I thought I would like to know more about what CRM software was and how it’s used. I was surprised to find out that I had never used CRM software before. I used CRM strategies all the time, but in the form of notes on scraps of paper stuck into job tickets or just remembering things about customers. Supermarkets use CRM software by issuing reward cards and then offering specials tailored to the customer based on their purchases. My guess would also be that Target also uses it at the point of check out because I usually get coupons with my receipt that correlate to what I bought.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
    • http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4679-corporate-social-responsibility.html
      • Corporate social responsibility refers to the things that businesses do to benefit society. More people, consumers, expect that the places that they purchase from will also care about the communities that the customers live in. News stations have food drives or community baby showers and Kohls has the Kohls Cares program. I think that consumers also feel good about shopping at businesses that contribute to the community in some way because then the customer feels like they contributed also.
  • Lifetime Value of a Customer
    • http://customerlifetimevalue.co/
      • This is a cool site. I scrolled up and down a couple times before I even read any of the content. Measuring the profit made from a customer is the customer lifetime value. This information can be used to determine how much time, money and energy a company should spend on trying to retain that customer. It can also help improve customer retention efforts. I am also surprised that my previous employers didn’t take this measurement more seriously. Of course all of our customers were important and we knew which ones we were going to spend the most resources on, but I would be curious to see what some of those customers real lifetime value would have been.
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9/19/14 Takeaways

9/19/14 Takeaways

  • Primary and Secondary Market Research
    • http://www.is4profit.com/business-advice/starting-up/startups-primary-market-research-vs-secondary-market-research-comparative-analysis.html
      • Secondary market research is data that is already available and is often easier to get and more inexpensive compared to primary research. It can be used as a base to develop the primary research. It can be good data and free, but by the time it gets to you the information might be outdated. Primary research lets you have more control in finding out about your target market but it can be expensive and time consuming. Using primary and secondary research together will get the best results when trying to figure out what the target audience needs or wants.
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Marketing Research
    • http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing/market-research/qualitative-or-quantitative-which-method-is-for-you-
      • Qualitative market research is finding out the behaviors of your target audience and quantitative market research is a measure of what the target audience is thinking. Using both of these methods together can be more valuable and give you a better idea of what the customer really wants. Like in the Dominos case study, a focus group can tell you how a customer feels, but then following up with a satisfaction survey can let the company know how satisfied the customers were with the changes they made.
  • Biometric Marketing Research Techniques
    • http://thearf.org/neurostandards-collaboration
      • I was wondering about biometric market research and how effective it was in accurately portraying consumer feelings about a product or service. If someone knows that they are being monitored, they will behave differently than if they would if they thought no one was watching. According to this article, some marketers are using nero-scientific data from research suppliersthat use techniques that have not been peer-reviewed or examined by experts. The NeuroStandards Collaboration was started so that research suppliers can submit their claims of neuro-scientific data so that it can be reviewed and critiqued scientifically by neuroscientists and phychophysiologists.
  • Market Research Methods
    • http://www.mmra-global.org/?page=WhyMobile
      • Mobile market research can let researchers get better feedback from consumers. They can see videos, pictures, talk to consumers and know what they are feeling at the moment they are using a product or service. The Mobile Marketing Research Association was developed to design studies that will help use data collected from mobile market research. They also set guidelines to ethically use personal data collected from mobile devices.
  • Positioning – Emotional
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9/16/14 Takeaways

9/16/14 Takeaways

  • Writing Copy for the Web
    • http://contentverve.com/how-to-write-web-copy-that-converts-8-simple-techniques/
      • This article focused on writing copy that would generate more conversions. Start by setting a specific goal for what the copy is supposed to do. Conveying the message to potential customers that the value of what you have to offer is worth what they have to give up will generate more conversions. Ask “why”, “what” and “how” in that order when writing copy. “Why” will determine why a customer would or would not choose you, “what” will answer exactly what you need to convey to the customer about the value of your offer over another and “how” will answer how you will use that information to write the best copy. Using keywords like “get” and being clear about your message will let the customer know exactly what they will get in return for their investment. The author of this article showed that by being clear and precise in his copywriting conversion rates will be higher, but I thought that by his own practices the copy he wrote ended up being creative.
  • Domain Names, Business Names and Taglines
    • http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2014/09/16/what-gaming-can-teach-marketers-about-taglines-brand-names-and-domain-names/
      • A business names should be uncomplicated. Using made up words or combining existing words can be hard for a consumer to pronounce or understand. It can also result in problems when trying to use it in a functional domain name. However, as the article points out, it sometimes works like for the video game Castlevania. Taglines should be action oriented. Say “Servicing our customers for however amount of time” instead of “in business since whenever.” A tagline or brand name should also give a potential customer a glimpse of what they are getting from you. Sometimes this is also not the case, like for Apple. A name or tagline should also be memorable for any potential customer. If the customer can remember the name of your business or even parts of it and it can be uses in the domain name, chances are better for your business to be found online.
  • ICANN
    • https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/welcome-2012-02-25-en
      • I had no idea what ICANN was. Now I do. Basically. ICANN coordinates the domain names across the world so that there is one global internet. They coordinate the technical services for the Domain Name Systems operations. These technical services are the Internets Assigned Number Authority. The ICANN performs these functions under a government contract. And other stuff I’m not going to pretend I understand, but basically they make it so there are no identical domain names.
  • WhoIs
    • http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp?bookmarked=84d1182fe7fc4eaf63cca54a21b1:9jF4
      • I also had no idea what WhoIs was either. When someone registers a domain name, ICANN requires the registrar to submit the contact information to the WhoIs database so that it is available for anyone to look at. People can check for expiration dates, they can look when transferring ownership and authorities can check if they are investigating criminal activity. The WhoIs database is public, but registrars can, for a fee, offer private listings. When someone looks up the information they will see their information not the owners.
  • Google SEO Guide
    • http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp?bookmarked=84d1182fe7fc4eaf63cca54a21b1:9jF4
      • I just found out about this guide last week. I think that it’s a great resource for marketers and designers. Looking through this guide can help in designing a site and writing copy. It has all the useful information to optimize a site. I also think that if marketers and designers are at least familiar with the guide and glanced at it, it would help them communicate to the programmers what is important about the message of a site and where things need to go on a site.
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9/12/14 Takeaways

9/12/14 Takeaways

  • Cookies
    • http://computer.howstuffworks.com/cookie1.htm
      • A cookie is a piece of information that a website stores on your computer. When someone visits a website, the site creates a piece of text that the web server stores on the computer. The next time that the person visits the site, the text string is sent to the server and the information that was stored for that text string is retrieved. Cookies are not bad; they cannot gather any information from the computer because they are just text files. They are very useful because a person will have a better experience using a website that they already visited because information is retrieved form the last visit.
  • Market Research
    • http://www.inc.com/magazine/19980101/851.html
      • By doing market research you can get information on what the consumers need, if the product or service will sell to the targeted consumers and also where to sell the product or service. This is an article where a lady made mistakes when she was doing market research. She got information that didn’t really represent the market she was targeting and her store ended up closing after three years and she lost money in the process. If she would have done a better job getting information on the customer she thought she was going to sell to, she would have seen that there was not a market for her products in the location she put her store.
  • SEO
    • http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2259693/SEO-Basics-8-Essentials-When-Optimizing-Your-Site
      • Search engine optimization uses techniques to increase the number of visitors to a website. I liked what this lady, Carolyn Shelby, had to say about SEO, “Skipping the basics and spending all your time and money on social and ‘fancy stuff’ is the same as skipping brushing your teeth and showering, but buying white strips and wearing expensive cologne.” Along with increasing the number of visitors to a site, SEO should create a good user experience and let the search engines know exactly what your site is for so they can recommend your site. Search engines look for certain thing in a site and if the site cannot clearly communicate these to the search engine, the site will not get listed and users won’t see it. This was a good article that gave 8 basic tips for optimizing a site.
  • Google Search Spiders/How Google Search Works
    • https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/70897?hl=en
      • When someone does a Google search, their programs check their index to return the most relevant search results. There are three key processes to deliver search results; Crawling, Indexing and Serving. Googlebot, which is a program that is used to discover new and updated pages to be added to their index, is used by a large number of computers to crawl the web for pages that are updated, new or no longer exist. Google does not accept payment to crawl a page more frequently. Then Googlebot processes the pages and indexes them. Media rich files or dynamic pages cannot get processed. When a user searches, Google’s machines search their index and return the results. Over 200 factors determine the relevancy of a page, one of which is PageRank. This measures the importance of a page based on the incoming links from other pages. But they have to be good links because Google tries to identify spam links and other things that negatively impact search results. You can use their Webmaster Guidelines to help improve a sites ranking without having the negative impacts that they look for.
  • Google Analytics
    • http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/google-in-the-enterprise/five-things-you-should-know-about-google-analytics/
      • Google Analytics let you know the performance of your website and how the users are using it. It’s a free service that provides data about your website to marketers and/or IT staff. Their service is free and you don’t have to use Google’s hosting service, all you have to do is add a line of code to the pages that you want analyzed. There is also a paid version that offers support, management, greater data capabilities and more. This article pointed out that even though the free version is available now, it might not always be offered for free like Google Apps is no longer free. You can also make adjustments to your site because the information offered shows what things are working on a site or what isn’t.
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